Exposición

End-of residency exhibition, Geography Institute, University of Bern, May 23-26, 2022.

The Spanish word ‘exposición’ can refer to an art exhibition as well as exposure to toxicity. Exposición offers a space to reflect on the bodies that are entangled within the intensive labour of cultivating strawberries in Huelva. Seasonal workers in this southwestern province of Spain are exposed to carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting pollutants from numerous sources, including sprayed pesticides.

Exposición was the culmination of fieldwork in Spain followed by an mLAB Art Residency at the University of Bern’s Geography Institute. Sabin created and curated a series of photographic and mixed media installations in response to field insights. The exhibition is one of several outcomes of Elusive Exposures, an ongoing, cross-disciplinary event series in collaboration with geographer Nora Komposch and soil scientist Professor Adrien Mestrot.

The centrepiece of Exposición is an immersive installation which invites visitors to experience a ‘fumigated’ atmosphere. The greenhouse structure emulates the architecture of the polytunnels in which strawberries are grown. The polytunnels are so numerous as to be visible from outer space; the effect is known as el mar de plástico (‘the sea of plastic’).

Exposición first took place at the Geography Institute, University of Bern, in May 2022. The project has been shared at Chemical Exposures Workshop (University College London), Feminist Geography Conference (University of Colorado), and The Compost Festival (University of Münster). The work will also feature in a forthcoming book chapter by Carolin Schurr, Nora Komposch and Mirko Winkel on artgeographies of the global intimate.

Exposición soundscape (part of greenhouse installation). Sabin 2022.